Monday, December 10, 2007

Hasek Still The Best Euro Ever

The most recent edition of the Hockey News carried a picture of Detroit Red Wing defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom on the cover proclaiming him to be the best European ever. It’s hard to argue, but let’s do it anyways.

I would rank Lidstrom as the 3rd best Euro ever behind number one Dominik Hasek and number two Jaromir Jagr.

Let’s look at the reasons why:

Dominik Hasek.

Has there ever been a more dominant goaltender in his prime than Hasek while he was with Buffalo? Hasek took over the number one job in Buffalo in 93-94 and kept it until he was traded to Detroit in 2001-02 were he won his one and only Stanley Cup with, ironically, Nicklas Lidstrom (who, in his favour, has 3 Cups on his resume). But those Buffalo teams were a lot weaker than Detroit had during the same period, yet Hasek racked up these accolades:

2 straight Hart Trophies for MVP in 97 and 98

6 Vezina Trophies including three straight from 97-99

6 NHL First All-Star team selections

2 Lester B. Pearson awards as the MVP voted upon by the players

1 Stanley Cup

Jaromir Jagr

Jagr was THE dominant offensive force of the mid to late 90’s and on into the 00’s. The mantle was passed from Wayne Gretzky to Mario Lemieux to Jagr and he didn’t dissapoint.

5 Art Ross Trophies as leading scorer including four straight from 98 to 01

1 Hart Trophy

7 NHL First All-Star team selections

3 Lester B. Pearson awards

2 Stanley Cups

Nicklas Lidstrom

Nick has had a brilliant Hall of Fame career and deserves all the accolades, including one time teammate and captain Steve Yzerman calling him “the best player in the world”.

7 NHL First All-Star team selections

4 Norris Trophies

1 Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs

3 Stanley Cups

That’s nothing to sneeze at and perhaps he will wind up having a better overall career than Hasek, but as for pure dominance and effect on the league, I still say that Hasek and Jagr were a notch above him. But not much.

It may be that people are too affected by the current play of the three stars. Hasek is winding down his career (which started late anyways) with the Red Wings and is not as good as he was in his prime. The same can be said for Jagr even though he notched over 100 points last year.

But if you had to have only one Euro player in his prime, wouldn’t you choose Hasek or Jagr over Lidstrom? Maybe you wouldn’t but that’s a choice we’ll never get to make.

Regardless, all three have been great to watch over the years.

1 comment:

cupster33 said...

Whiniest euro (ever)